Nothing is good when it spoils, and alcohol is no exception.
From skunky beer, to curdled cream liqueurs, to spirits that may potentially be growing their own forms of life inside, proper storage is vital for your booze.
For your drinking pleasure and convenience, check out these crafty ideas for liquor storage that will help you ensure you have beverages ready to serve, no matter what the occasion.
Properly Store Your Open Bottles
One of the worst feelings in the world is when you open up a bottle of wine you had been putting off finishing for a couple days or weeks to discover that it became expensive vinegar, but wine isn’t the only form of alcohol that you need to be mindful of.
Unless you’re having a Gatsby-esque party, unfinished open bottles will linger in your home for a while, especially hard liquor, so it’s important to make sure the bottles are sealed properly. If they aren’t, wine can turn to vinegar from oxidation and your darker spirits can be washed out of their color and freshness by the same process.
If they’re capped, make sure you twist them back tight. If they’re corked, either make sure the cork is tightly put back in place or use one of the many resealable silicone, metal, or plastic corks on the market.
Keep Your Bottles Out of Direct Sunlight
Similarly, direct sunlight can mess up a perfectly good bottle of spirits. In higher ABV alcohol the increased heat from the sunlight can speed up evaporation, slowly draining the bottle even when not in use.
In the case of beer, direct sunlight can give beer not stored in a tinted bottle a skunky, unpleasant flavor as the heat messes with the contents.
Even worse, if you have any sort of liquor out for a while for your party, the sunlight can speed up heating the liquid and curdle it like spoiled milk.
Be Mindful of Expiration Dates
Most spirits can be stored indefinitely if unopened, and many will remain drinkable for a long time after the seal is broken. However, that is not always the case.
Cream or dairy based liqueurs like Baileys Irish Cream often have a recommended use by date somewhere on the bottle, as the alcohol in the liqueur can only prevent the dairy from going sour for so long.
If exposed to heat and light, this process can be sped up even faster. Always check your more creamy drinks for a use by date.
Make Sure You Refrigerate What Needs to Be
Cream and dairy based liqueurs also must be refrigerated once opened. Leaving them out at room temperature once the seal is broken can cause them to spoil and waste your drink.
Certain spirits or fortified wines such as Vermouth and Amaro should also be stored in the fridge to prevent their flavor going stale, which is the last thing you want for your James Bond marathon martinis.
Keep it Cool
Wine cellars exist for a reason. Keep your alcohol in as cool a natural temperature as possible for the best preservation of color, flavor, and quality of the alcohol of your choice.
In general, 55 to 60 degrees is the ideal temperature to prevent unnecessary evaporation and alteration of the flavors.
Upright or Horizontal: Different Spirits Need Different Positions
Though both wine and some distilled spirits like whiskey are commonly preserved with corks, this does not mean they can be stored the same way.
With wine, storing the bottle horizontally is preferred, as it keeps the cork moistened by the wine inside. If the wine cork dries out too much, oxygen will start to seep in and may lead to the dreaded vinegar-wine taste.
With whiskey, storing the bottle upright is needed to prevent the barrel cork from leeching its own flavors into the spirit which can cause a bitter flavor. It also causes a reaction with the high alcohol content that further degrades the spirit over time.
Always Store Alcohol Safely
The most important rule for storing alcohol however, is safety. Broken glass is dangerous and a full, sealed bottle can cause serious damage if it falls onto a foot or off a high shelf onto someone’s head.
If you have children, it’s also vital to store your alcohol in a place that can’t be accessed by your kids, especially the extremely young.
Remember to drink responsibly and store smartly!